Date: October 15, 2018

Tucked under a pickup truck dashboard in a tidy shop in Brandon, Richard Kelleher smiles while installing a remote starter.

“I’ve been getting a lot of calls for these, since the snow fell,” says the owner of Kelleher Tech and Autosound. “People are asking about remote starts for themselves or Christmas presents.”

Freshly opened in September 2018, Richard’s start-up business handles remote starters and a whole lot more. He stocks and installs automotive sound and video systems, car alarms, cruise controls and vehicle GPS, in addition to repairing televisions, video game systems and other household devices.

“I saw an opportunity,” explains Richard, a trained and licensed electronics technician known as Ricco to a generation of local car and truck owners craving aftermarket sound.

Originally from Thailand, Richard moved to the Wheat City at age eight. Installing vehicle stereos and starters since 1996 – most recently with Extreme Electronics in Brandon – Richard decided to start his own business at the corner of 26th Street and Brandon Avenue.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he says. “I get to work with the customers more directly and find solutions for their needs. It’s something I should have done a long time ago!”

Kelleher Tech and Autosound is one of the few Brandon businesses still offering in-vehicle installations. A business staple for audio shops of the past, installations have gone from simple to complex and require high-tech components and specialized know-how.

“Over time, it’s dwindled down,” Richard says. “Some have stopped doing installs. Others don’t really market themselves. There’s definitely room for more.”

Richard also believes he’s the only one in Brandon fixing remote control devices including aerial drones. That kind of servicing is rare in today’s market where products are often replaced rather than repaired.

“It’s definitely worth it to fix something, if you can,” Richard points out. “For instance, many TVs are repairable and it’s a good idea to check before junking it.”

A Westoba member since 2008, Richard bought a home in 2017 with a Westoba mortgage and received expert advice from Westoba’s Business Account Representatives when establishing his new business in 2018.

“Westoba has been really helpful in getting everything going,” he says.

Already looking to the future, Richard would like to add a second vehicle service bay and hire more staff. But first, he plans a marketing campaign to let everyone Kelleher Tech and Autosound is ‘starting up’.

“There’s sure less stress now then working for someone else,” he says, clicking a key fob and watching a customer’s truck with new remote starter rumble to life.

Westoba salutes Richard ‘Ricco’ Kelleher and Manitoba’s 38,000 small business owners during 2018 BDC Small Business Week.